Our twenties are the best years of our lives. We strong and hearty beings in our prime will have more energy now than we ever will. Mesh that with little responsibility and a zeal for life and it’s not surprising we believe we’re unstoppable. So, what do we do with those precious few years? We sell them to the workforce.
On one hand society acknowledges that the years of our twenties are a time of play and indulgence but on the other hand we are bombarded with advertising that cries at us to buy a house in a terrible market.
In New Zealand there is a real drive among my peers to buy a house and to have a career down pat before we reach thirty years old. While we’re placing down all those roots by the tender age of twenty-two, we should put all our energy into finding a life partner too, because otherwise we will be on our own our whole lives and what will people think of us?!
We pretend we know what we are doing with our lives before we’ve even lived them because who wants to be that one person who’s floundering directionless?
The scary thing about leaving it all behind to travel is the concern that our peers will be getting ahead in their career paths and leaving us behind.
In reality that career path is more of a career tree and many people branch out into other areas of their job or change jobs altogether.
You won’t be unemployable if you spend your youth travelling; instead you’ll standout as someone who’s dreamed of travelling the world, made a plan and executed it. You’ll seem so much more capable and confident in comparison to those who have come straight out of school.
All those hours spent at the office? It’s just one big blur of the same buildings, the same people and the same drinks in the same bars. Horizons weren’t broadened, bold choices not made. Youth wasted. Be daring and travel because you’ll never be as free as you are now, don’t gamble on the chance that you may be able to travel later on life.
These life changing decisions may seem daunting when they’re still in the ‘I wish’ state, but when you’ve done it, it’s not the big deal it seems, the world continues its slow turn and people go about their business the same as usual. But for you, everything is different because you took the plunge; you booked that one way ticket to Bangkok that you’d been dreaming about during those dreary drives to work.
You have all the opportunity in the world to potentially do whatever you want with your life, you speak English, you’re young, educated and healthy, you are so lucky! Literally millions of people would swap places with you in a heartbeat and celebrate it like they’d won lottery. So why not do something gutsy with it, small steps can lead to big changes.
It may not be travel that gets your heart aflutter (although perhaps you are on the wrong site). It may be that having your dream job or owning your own business does it for you. Whatever it is, you need to go after it and at the very least give it a go.
Should you find that a few years down the track it’s not working out, no worries, you’re still young and there’s still plenty of time to turn around and do something else with your life. But if you don’t try, you’ll always regret it and regret is a heavy emotion to live with.
It may seem easy for me to say “quit your job and travel!” when every situation is different. As a chef, travel is not a negative aspect on my C.V. and I work my international ‘eating’ experiences into my career, often bonding with my interviewer over shared travelling stories.
It's important to consider - if you love the life and job you currently have, then giving it up for a single extended travel period may make you feel as though you’ve sacrificed too much for the experience.
However, if after college you weren’t able to get a foot in the door of your chosen industry – which is fairly typical of our generation – and you are waiting tables to get by, or temping in an office doing menial and repetitive tasks, then you are the person who should be out there in the world and doing something positive for yourself, discovering new passions and connecting with people.
Don’t waste another day in a job you can’t stand and start making plans to get what you want for your life.
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